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Celebrating Salmon

by Alexandra, Blaise, Jenna, & Tanner — Westcot Elementary, West Vancouver, BC

Viewing salmon

November 2011 — On October 27th 2011, the grade 4/5 class from Westcot Elementary, West Vancouver, walked to Brothers Creek, where there was a viewing platform, to learn about salmon. We learned about its lifecycle, habitat, and how it’s an important resource for British Columbia.

Just before we arrived at the viewing platform, Hugh Hamilton, from the West Vancouver Streamkeepers Society, reminded us to keep quiet so that we don’t scare off any salmon. We walked down a steep, switch-backed trail in single file to see 13 Chum salmon Viewing salmon swimming around in pairs. It was so exciting to see so many healthy salmon in this natural habitat. We also saw some unique birds like the dipper, who eats salmon eggs by wading down into the water to get the eggs. A heron swooped down right in front of us giving us a surprise. Unfortunately, we saw two dead salmon under the water. When we asked Mr. Hamilton about the dead salmon he reminded us that decomposers help break down the salmon and return the nutrients to the soil. Mr. Hamilton told us that sometimes he dissects dead salmon to see if they had spawned. By being at the viewing platform, we had first-hand experience studying the salmon’s habitat and hearing about its lifecycle from Mr. Hamilton.

Salmon swimmingObserving salmon activitiesFirst, a male and female mate by finding each other and the male fertilizes her eggs by releasing his milk from his sac. This process has only 60 seconds to be completed because the male milk dies. When the eggs hatch, the alevins (new born fish) eat food from their yolk and eventually become fry then smolts. Smolts swim down streams into an estuary where they feed on small insects that fall off trees. Now adults, salmon eat small fish in
Observing salmon activities the ocean and live there for 2 to 3 years. Salmon swim back to the stream they were born in because they want to spawn. Their sensitive sides can sense the chemicals in each body of water to find their home stream. This journey is treacherous and few salmon survive because of natural predators, urban development, and sea lice from salmon farms. Once they find their destination, they try to mate and then they die. For example, only a few salmon survive to spawn from roughly 2500 eggs (Hodge, D., Salmon, 2002).

Reading about salmonsWe know that salmon are an important resource not only to our First Nations community but to all British Columbians. First Nations people or Aboriginal people used salmon for food, clothing, and tools. Now, salmon, farmed and wild, are a food source for many people all around the world. It’s important that we preserve the salmon habitat. We are inspired to learn more about salmon because it’s important to the food chain and food web.

A salmon We too didn’t know about this area in Brothers Creek until we went on this fieldtrip. So, go explore your neighbourhood because you might be inspired to help preserve and learn about special areas in your community.

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[This article has 65 responses]
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That was awesome

Niko, HI
Posted at April 16 2012 at 8:00 AM EST

That sounds interesting I wish I was there.That will be fun.:)

Kristopher, VA
Posted at May 01 2012 at 5:45 AM EST

Rowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!Thats soooooooooooooooooooo cool & fun.:):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)

Kristopher , VA
Posted at May 01 2012 at 5:46 AM EST

I like the paragraph and the pictures and salmon is very healthy and good

Diego , CA
Posted at May 29 2012 at 5:47 AM EST

This article was so interesting ! I learned a lots about the salmons in British Coloumbia ! Thank you for shared your visit with us :)

Anonymouuus5, QC
Posted at April 24 2013 at 7:24 AM EST

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